The Morning After: NASA’s AIM spacecraft goes silent after a 15-year run


After 15 years in space, NASA’s AIM mission is ending. The agency said it was ending operational support for the spacecraft due to a battery power failure. NASA first noticed issues with AIM’s battery in 2019, but the probe was still sending a “significant amount of data” back to Earth. Following another recent decline in battery power, NASA says AIM has become unresponsive.

NASA launched the AIM – Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere – mission in 2007 to study noctilucent or night-shining clouds, which can last hundreds of years in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. It was only meant to operate up in the skies for two years, but it’s provided data for multiple groundbreaking studies, including a recent 2018 study that found methane emissions (and the climate change effects) are causing night-shining clouds to form more frequently.

– Mat Smith

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But it’s really just a photo mode.

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